HomePoliticsNigeria’s Housing Minister Unveils N3 Trillion Plan for IDPs and Refugees

Nigeria’s Housing Minister Unveils N3 Trillion Plan for IDPs and Refugees

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Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, has announced a N3 trillion ($7.2 billion) plan to build one million houses for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees across the country.

The plan, which was unveiled on Monday during the inspection of the prototype houses at Idu Industrial Estate, Abuja, aims to provide shelter and dignity for the millions of Nigerians who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence, and natural disasters.

Dr. Edu said the houses will be built by the communities themselves, using local materials and labor, and will be equipped with solar systems to provide basic electricity needs. She said the houses will cost N3 million ($7,200) each and will be completed within 10 days.

“We are on an inspection of the just-completed and sample houses. The President, Bola Amend Tinubu, is committed to providing shelter for the poor, internally displaced persons, and refugees in Nigeria,” she said.

“We have to immediately carry out a sample of what these shelters will look like, so we have two of them. One is a one-bedroom, and the second is a two-bedroom, but they are both samples, and these samples were built by the local people in the community for themselves. At the same time, they are very cost-effective, and the building was built for N3 million in 10 days.

“In the community, what is also interesting about it is that we want to introduce the solar system so that this shelter for the poor, vulnerable, refugees, and internally displaced persons is not dependent on the national grid but can at least use the solar system to take care of the basic electrical needs such as lights, phone charging, and basic ironing.

“So, we are here to inspect and officially take over the one-bedroom and two-bedrooms that had been built as samples for the shelter program under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and poverty alleviation.

“Remember that we are dealing with multi-dimensional poverty and part of the dimension is the fact that the people do not have a proper shelter over their heads.

“We went to Benue, and we saw a million people who had been displaced and are staying in a very tight shelter. This is a family of six or five living in that little water-proof house, and when it rains, it rains on them. When the sun comes down, it shines on them and the little children, which is unacceptable.

“And that’s why President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said that we should help these communities and build dignified homes that are built by themselves; this is not going to be built by a contractor. It’s the community that is going to build itself, and by doing so, they’ll be empowered.

“This is what will give the community ownership of the project; by so doing, they’ll not vandalize or destroy it. At the same time, it gives them economic power.

“Because as they build, they are being paid, like those who brought water, cement, and sand from the sea, and those who cut the wood from the bush were all paid, so that locality or village gets the support they need to build themselves up economically, so it’s both economic empowerment and skills empowerment and most importantly, providing shelter for those without shelter.”

Dr Edu said the government intends to build a million shelters across Nigeria for the poor, internally displaced persons, and refugees, which will benefit about five million Nigerians. She said the project is partly reflected in the 2024 budget and will also be funded by the newly approved Humanitarian Trust Fund, which has 30 percent donations from the government and the remaining 70 percent from the private sector, donor agencies, development partners, and philanthropic individuals, among others.

She said the project will target the states that have the highest number of IDPs and refugees, such as Benue, Borno, Zamfara, Adamawa, Yobe, and others. She said the ground-breaking ceremony has already taken place in Benue State, where 40 houses will be built on 10 hectares of land.

Nigeria is facing a severe housing crisis, with an estimated deficit of 22 million units, according to the World Bank. The crisis has been worsened by the displacement of millions of people due to insecurity and environmental factors.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Nigeria hosts over 85,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly from Cameroon, and has over 3.1 million internally displaced persons as of June 2022.

The UNHCR has welcomed the government’s plan to provide shelter for the IDPs and refugees and has pledged to support the implementation of the project.

The UNHCR representative in Nigeria, Ms Chansa Kapaya, said the project is in line with the Global Compact on Refugees, which calls for responsibility-sharing and solidarity with the displaced and their host communities.

She said the UNHCR will work with the government and other partners to ensure that the houses are durable, safe, and culturally appropriate and that the beneficiaries are consulted and involved in the process.

She also urged the government to address the root causes of displacement and to create conditions for voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return and reintegration of the displaced.

The project is expected to boost the economy, create jobs, and improve the living standards of the IDPs and refugees, as well as their host communities.

It is also hoped that the project will inspire other African countries to adopt similar initiatives to address the housing needs of the displaced and the poor.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

 

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